Empty shops, artisans, culture and livening up the place!

In response to Empty Shops blog

Couldn’t agree with you more Dan. As I suggested when we recently met, I think these maker/creatives/artisan/specialist shops are what make a place unique as opposed to homogenised. With artist studios hard to find and often costly to rent, surely allowing dense areas of empty shops as making/training/selling retail units could tick lots of boxes? Unloved rows of empty shops cold be transformed into vibrant streets where families can attend workshops, shoppers shop, tourists marvel at the local skills.

There needs to be a density, not scattered around in empty spaces. Think Istanbul streets around the Grand Bazaar – you want buttons – go to the street that has lots of button shops. Art & hand-made items? Go to the artisan street. Most cities have been developing a ‘cultural quarter’ because they know a sound creative presence can increase property values (eventually) e.g. East End in London. But they risk ghettoising creativity…….this approach embraces it as part of everyday life. And it is generous in spirit – yes it can generate an income – but it also does skill-sharing, community based activities.

Every year, city centres welcome German and French christmas markets – great to be able to buy stuff from other countries, but what about buying local produce? Why not energise local economies by creating opportunities for local makers to show their wares, sell them and help others learn how to make things themselves?

There needs to be quality control and a contract with shopkeepers to ensure a shared agenda and parallel sense of purpose too.

Anyone want to discuss this, give me a call.

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